Feature Story

Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, and Ohio Wesleyan?

November 6, 2014 – by Cole Hatcher

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra – with help from the Ohio Wesleyan Choral Art Society – will present ‘Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton’ on Nov. 15 at the Ohio Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Artist Management, Inc.)

If you call their performance “frightful,” it’s the one time members of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Choral Art Society will be happy to agree.

On Nov. 15, forty-four members of this OWU ensemble will perform with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra when it presents “Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton.”

The 8 p.m. performance at the Ohio Theatre in downtown Columbus will include music from such classic Burton films as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “The Corpse Bride,” “Beetlejuice,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and more.

The performance also will include “big screen visuals of Tim Burton’s original film sketches, drawings, and storyboards,” according to the symphony.

OWU associate professor of music Jason Hiester, Ph.D., directs the Choral Art Society – the only central Ohio college ensemble participating in the upcoming performance. One student from the Columbus Children’s Choir also will help to perform the spooky symphony.

How did the Ohio Wesleyan students get invited to perform?

“The ensemble is getting known outside of Ohio Wesleyan,” Hiester says.

He credits the ensemble’s growing reputation, in part, with its outside performances including “Matchgirl” with Columbus Dance Theatre last year. The OWU ensemble will take part in “Matchgirl” performances again this year Dec. 12-13.

Hiester also has strong connections and a solid reputation in the downtown arts community. A tenor, Hiester’s own resume includes performances in genres including opera, oratorio, choral and jazz and in roles with the West Palm Beach Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Columbus Opera, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and Florida Grand Opera as well as concert work with the Miami Bach Society, Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Symphony, Columbus Bach Ensemble, Columbus Dance Theatre, Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Springfield Symphony, and Vocal Arts Ensemble of Springfield.

Hiester also was a winner of both the Schloss Leopoldskron competition in Salzburg, Austria, and the West Palm Beach Opera Competition. He joined the OWU faculty in 2002.

In addition to the Choral Art Society, OWU music professor Nancy Gamso, D.M.A., also will perform with the symphony as part of the Danny Elfman event. Gamso, who joined the OWU faculty in 1991, will play the bass clarinet.

Gamso also is principal clarinetist of the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra and a founding member of both the Rococoa Wind Quintet and Tour d’Anches Reed Trio. She performs regularly as an orchestra musician with the Broadway series in Columbus and is a d’Addario Artist. She is an associate musician with the Columbus Symphony; ProMusica Chamber Orchestra; the Newark-Granville, Central Ohio, and Ohio Valley Symphonies; and Southern Ohio Light Opera.

Tickets still are available for the Choral Art Society’s Nov. 15 performance with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Learn more at www.columbussymphony.com. Learn more about the Choral Art Society, Hiester, Gamso, and the OWU Department of Music at https://www.owu.edu/academics/departments-programs/department-of-music/.